At times, myth is cannibalistic, consuming past mythologies. At others, it is a translator establishing common ground, spanning cultural and generational divisions….The mythological has the ability to connect the present, future, and past together in a single chord.
Brooklyn-based artist Kambui Olujimi works in a variety of media, ranging from film to installation to photography. In recent work the artist has focused on examining the role that myth plays in connection to historical amnesia. Using large-scale tapestries as a platform for the dissemination of narrative, Olujimi’s newest body of work, Wayward North, questions the function, transmission, and disposability of mythology in an increasingly mediated culture. This exhibition was on view off-site at 81 Front Street in Dumbo, Brooklyn from June 5-July 1, 2010.
The central component of Olujimi’s exhibition is a series of twelve 20 by 10 foot tapestries, each embroidered by the artist with constellations of fine thread and rhinestones, composing a narrative of contemporary “star maps.” Subverting the tradition of tapestries as a record of historical events, the constellations reference a series of fantastic yet personal stories that play on the relationship between fact and fiction, reality and belief. The embroidered figural representations of persons, animals, and objects chart constellations which transform pre-existing celestial bodies into new mythological characters. A series of sculptures, photographs, and drawings that embody the archaeology of these celestial narratives punctuate the maze-like installation. With this body of work Olujimi questions whether mythology can extend community without conquest. Encountering this work, viewers will be invited to take part in a myth-making of the present, explaining our world as it is, was, and as we hope for it to be.
About the Artist
Kambui Olujimi attended Bard College and is a graduate of Parsons School of Design and Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture. Olujimi has had solo exhibitions at the de Saisset Museum, CA; Meyers Gallery, University of Cincinnati; and Real Art Ways, CT. His works have been included in group exhibitions at the Museo Nacional Reina Sofia, Madrid, Spain; Studio Museum in Harlem; Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles; the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, San Francisco; Contemporary Arts Museum Houston; Brooklyn Museum; and the Museum of Modern Art, NY. In 2009, he was a 2nd year Visual Arts Fellow at The Fine Arts Work Center in Provincetown, and Artist in Residence at The Santa Fe Art Institute in New Mexico
Wayward North has been created as part of Art in General’s New Commission program. Launched in 2005, the New Commissions Program centers on developing and exhibiting new and challenging projects by artists. Art in General commissions visual artists to create new projects in any medium or form and works closely with artists to help them develop their work from initial idea to final exhibition.
The New Commissions Program is made possible by is made possible by the U.S. Institute of Museum and Library Services; Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts; Jerome Foundation; The Pollock-Krasner Foundation; AG Foundation; and the Elizabeth Firestone Graham Foundation. Additional support for Wayward North has been generously provided by The Lewis-Feigenbaum Charitable Trust and Sean Johnson through the Co-Commissioners Program. Support has also been provided by Two Trees Management Company and The Finishing Stitch, Sante Fe, New Mexico.